What will climate change mean for the more than 45 million American birdwatchers? Much more importantly, what will it mean for the birds we most love and enjoy?
With birds finely tuned to their living conditions – landscape, vegetation, weather, food, water – we know that a warming globe will add to the problems they already face.
The Audubon Society’s “Birds and Climate Report” website offers a useful overview. At the site’s core: its maps of changing climate ranges for 588 North American species, over half of them heading for trouble. (Search by flyway, state, or bird name). Its “report at a glance” summary and relatively technical but readable article about the underlying study are well worthwhile, as are the linked articles by Michele Nijhuis (overview; prairie potholes) and Carl Safina (seabirds).
Two other recent sources worth the time of bird-watchers: the State of the World’s Birds report from BirdLife International; and “Shorebirds, the World’s Greatest Travelers, Face Extinction.” Both consider many major pressures on birds, not just climate change; the second (one of whose authors directs the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology) is beautifully produced.
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. Use the Twitter hashtag #ICYMIclimate to flag works you think warrant attention, or send an e-mail to ICYMI@yaleclimateconnections.org any time. Let us hear from you.